Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Halloween!

I feel a little like Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter right now. I’m sitting here thinking about death. Yes, dear readers, it’s that time again; Halloween.

I just had a small, informal ceremony by the fire under the oak. I prayed a little, I thought a lot, gazed at the moon, remembering the dead. I even had my wedding rings out, to try to say goodby to that life. It is time to move on. It will be tough, it will be hard. But I want to find someone new, and I need to let my old life go. I think today was a step in the right direction.

Another thing I did, was thinking about my previous lives. I am a believer in reincarnation, though I can’t claim to know how it works. I do believe one of my recent lives was that of a lowly soldier, in either the French or British army. I think I died during the Great War, and I think I bled to death from a shot in either my chest or my stomach. Why do I believe this? Because I’ve done some self-hypnosis, some meditation etc. on the topic, and this is one of the lives I’ve found. I can remember what it felt like to bleed to death. Does that make it true? No, it could be a false memory of course, but to me it was an extremely vivid experience. I can’t really explain it as such, but please feel free to ask about it! Some day I hope to do a “real” regression, and see if I can find out more.

This was just a short musing over death and Halloween. I hope you enjoy it, if you have anything you want to ask about this samhain thing, or have anything you want to tell me about what you think or feel about death, Halloween etc. please, I love to discuss it!

Happy Halloween to everyone!

Tobias

Knowledge Navigator

Once upon a time Apple was ruled by a man called John Sculley. This was a man of vision. His main vision was the ‘Knowledge Navigator‘, which in many ways was sort of a merge of Macintosh, HyperCard, the coming Newton and some magic… However, to this day we have not seen a product of this kind.

But, think about it. The combo of an iPhone and a Macintosh equipped with MacSpeech Dictate, Spark, Automater and a few other bit and bobs such as Skype, Go to meeting etc., and in a roundabout way you are nearly there. Think about it for a while. The ultimate sci-fi fantasy (reality based at least) is sort of a reality today. Now imagin what we fantasise about in this manner today, and look twenty years ahead. Who knows what will come, but I think it will be pretty cool!

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

~ Arthur C. Clarke ~

Thobias

Jason Calacanis at Open Coffee Athens XV

Jason Calacanis, love him or hate him, is definitely a very successful entrepreneur. And he is also extremely generous about giving advise to you entrepreneurs in the making. I stumbled across this video of him giving a speech at the Open Coffee Athens XV. Yes, the video concentrates on Greece, but everything he is saying can apply to Europe as a whole. We do focus to much on the negatives, and we do spurn people who have failed. We shouldn’t! By working together and innovate and just plain daring to do, we could even beat the US in the Web 2.0 market.

 

 

It is time for us to start daring and doing!

Bottom line: Your first idea is rarely your best.

The first step in a journey is never the best either! Most folks hit their stride two hours into the marathon. Don’t be afraid to nuke your first idea and run with your second–or third, forth or fifth.

Evolution is the revolution.

Jason Calacanis

 

Thobias

‘abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz’

Reading the excellent web design page by Mark Boulton I came across a fascinating video called ‘abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz’

 

Watching Job draw the letterforms is mesmeric enough, but when his son (?) joins in, I found myself laughing as he tries to imitate his fathers work. This leads to some funny-looking characters (c and d are particular favourites of mine).

I’m particularly jealous of the assured free-hand script of Job. It really is a joy to watch.

 

I couldn’t more than agree, and I am just as mesmerised by the strokes. The whole thing reminded me about the movie ‘The Pillow Book’. It’s a strange, slow, and yet, wonderful movie about calligraphy, art and human life. 

 

 

The art of writing is perhaps the most useful, beautiful and magical creative endeavours we as human beings have got. It should be treated with respect, taught to our young, learned from our history. It is one of the things making us human.

 

When God made the first clay model of a human being, He painted in the eyes… the lips… and the sex. And then He painted in each person’s name lest the person should ever forget it. If God approved of His creation, He brought the painted clay model into life by signing His own name.

Nagiko in ‘The Pillow Book

 

Thobias

Big Buck Bunny

Blender is an Open Source 3D animation program with a lot of promise. But perhaps the most intressting thing about it that there is also an Open Source based moviemaking community around it. They have previously released Elephants Dream which was OK, but nothing special. However, the look and feel of this movie, Big Buck Bunny, is more or less on par with Pixar. There is hope for the Open community still!

If you want to know more about Blender, you can for instance listen to FLOSS Weekly, Ep. 25.

Enjoy!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

more about “Big Buck Bunny“, posted with vodpod

 

 

Who can be a druid?

Recently I found my self at a party in the north (well, Småland…) and after a while the subject turned to the meaning of the word druid. What does it mean to be a druid? Who decides who can call him/her self a druid? Does the word druid mean anything if it means different things to everyone? Neina recently blogged about all this, and I thought I’d add my two ¢ to the mix.

What does the word mean? This is a tricky question, even though it seems it would mean something like “the wise one” in a literal sense, even though we are not quite sure. But that is a general term if ever there was one. But it still offers an interesting thought. If it means that the person attached to that epithet is wise, that would suggest that you have to earn the title from someone. But who would that be? An election-style grove? Certainly. Given that the grove and/or order in question is anything like reasonable, getting your self chosen to become a druid should be a guarantee that you do hold some wisdom, at least in the eyes of the elders of that grove/order. In addition it could be an application style one as well, since the goal would be the same: screening. Possibly your friends could refer to you as “a wise one” as well, that is; society gives you the title, but needless to say, that is a lot less common these days…

Arhc Druid in Robe

So, it would seem that if you define “druid” as someone who is wise, then you can’t really give your self that title. But at the same time, I do think you could use it as a solitary for instance. That would mean though, that the literal meaning of druid means less to be wise. You can call your own person wise, but in the tradition of Socrates, that would be considered unwise… In the discussions at said party, most seem to hold the position that anyone could call them selves druids, as long as they were true druids. Needlessly to say, there is a flaw or two in that argument. Also they were very keen on separating wicca/witches and druids by saying that wiccans were much more dogmatic, needing paraphernalia and physical altars to do their thing. That is an issue for another day, as I do not agree.

Thinking about it, it doesn’t bother me that people call them selves druids. But, at the same time, the word needs to be defined in other ways. My thoughts on this would be that true persons would know if they can call them selves druids or not, but the world doesn’t work that way. Maybe the simple truth is that it has to be defined through deeds rather than definitions, at least in the solitary sense. If you do x you are a druid. What would x be? Well, I would list a certain respect for nature, connections with the spirits and gods, a will to know and learn etc. But it is still not enough of a definition.

Does this render the word meaningless? Yes, and no. In essence it could be argued that all the words we use are meaningless. They mean what they mean, because we have decided to decipher them in common ways. So to complicate matters further, I think that you can call your self a druid, and also say that someone else is not a druid, provided that you also define what you mean by being or not being a druid. 

Problems will arise in the confrontation between solitaries and grove members. I think the only way to solve that gordian knot, is to add “solitary” or “initiatory” as an epithet to the title.

Thus, in conclusion, I think that anyone can call him/her self a druid, but they need to realise that it is a complicated term, and they need to be ready to answer questions about why they call them selves that. If the answer is simply: “I’m initiated”, then fair cop to you. But if it’s you are a solitary druid, be prepared to talk of your deeds.

Obviously there are other questions surrounding this issue, and not everyone would agree with me. But this is a start. Let’s not forget, that even though the seeds of the neopagan tree are old, the tree it self is actually, at best, only circa a hundred years old. And maybe we need to accept that even if a tree has only one stem, it does have plenty of branches and roots.

/ | \ Thobias

 

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Books for Twits

In listening to the latest episode of This Week in Tech, I was at first horrified that I would not get my normal weekly dose of half-arsed, funny but still very informative insights into the world of tech and Web 2.0. The tone was serious! Well, I still clung on, and in many ways this must have been one of the more interesting Twits in a long while.

Joining the regulars, this time Leo (of course) and Dvorak (.org/blog…) was the able hands of Denise Howell of This Week in Law fame; and a special guest: Brewster Kahle. Who is he? He’s none other than the guy behind archive.org and as such one of the first persons with foresight enough to realise that not all things are printed anymore, and what that will mean for the possibilities of future research.

Anyway, this time around the round table concerned among other things the FBI screwing up in their dealings with archive.org; dealings it’s very doubtful if they should have commenced with to begin with. But the really tasty bit was the scanning and distribution of printed works over the Internet. Archive.org have in conjunction with such big shots as Microsoft and Yahoo! scanned thousands of books and published them for free on the Internet. Now, recently MS and the big Y decided to pull out, but the project will go on as a public service instead. (Nothing but kudos to MS and Y in spite, they poured millions into a project that they from a business perspective shouldn’t have undertaken in the first place.)

And this is where it starts to get interesting for the rest of us. Where are the European initiatives to something of this kind? We, collectively, own some of the finest historical collections in the world in everything from books and manuscripts to records and art. Why is this not on archive.org or similar services? Why, since a lot of our stuff is owned and produced by the public, can’t the public get at it in a user friendly and informative way? Mind you, the few euro efforts you sometimes find often have a very tangy googlesk feel to them, meaning ugly and not very useful. (As we all know, Google Books is nothing short of a cruel joke on humanity.) But just think of the possibilities, the combined history of Europe (this is from a Euro perspective, but obviously other parts of the world would benefit from the same thing) all tagged and searchable on the Internet. It’s a wet dream for me as a historian.

Of course you already can get a lot of stuff via, for instance, archive.org and the fairly new project Open Library, but there is one snag: what’s on there is predominantly in English. As a Scandinavian I might find that of little or no use depending on what I am looking for. So, to concentrate on my neck of the woods, I urge the governments of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Finland to digitise books in the same general fashion as archive.org. Preferably add it to archive.org for free while you’re at it! It is a shame that we, as some of the most technological nations in the world, seem to have completely abandon our history just because it’s not in MS Word format. This needs to stop now! Our children, nay the world, deserves it. Otherwise, we will get a truly horrible generation; and we will thoroughly deserve…

For books are more than books, they are the life
The very heart and core of ages past,
The reason why men lived and worked and died,
The essence and quintessence of their lives. – Amy Lowell

Thobias

P.s. To show what can be done with these scans, I want to ask you to have a look at this Cinderella, or this edition of Alice in Wonderland. Both are with archive.org, but the latter found via Open Library. They are beautiful and nothing short of fantastic!